Veteran Boston quintet Aerosmith made clear to a near-sell-out Forum crowd that, despite the mediocre albums the band has made for the last 10 years, it is still very much capable of delivering an exciting and well-rounded evening of live hard rock.

Veteran Boston quintet Aerosmith made clear to a near-sell-out Forum crowd that, despite the mediocre albums the band has made for the last 10 years, it is still very much capable of delivering an exciting and well-rounded evening of live hard rock.

Show opener “Beyond Beautiful,” from Aerosmith’s most recent platinum-selling album “Just Push Play” (Columbia), was beyond boring, with Joe Perry’s bluesy guitar solo the pedestrian tune’s sole redeeming feature. But most of the rest of the show comprised a satisfying roundup of the band’s best songs from their 1970s heyday as well as from their unlikely late-’80s comeback.

Singer and harp player Steven Tyler still moves like a cat, and his voice sounds as good now as it ever has. His trusty sidekick Perry, ever-cool with long hair covering his face and playing an American-flag-decorated guitar, cut through the loud music with a series of sharp riffs and solos. The other band members are no slouches, either. Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford wrapped thick and swirling lines of accompaniment around Perry’s leads, while bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer delivered a powerful and propulsive bottom end.

The five together still have that certain strutting charisma that has always separated them from their contemporaries, whatever the decade. Some songs, like 1976’s excellent “Rats in the Cellar,” would end with a cool jam as the band stood in a small, tight circle in front of Kramer. Tyler swung on a rope out over the crowd during “Mama Kin,” from band’s 1973 debut and another of the show’s best songs, while a video montage on the overhead screens showed the five during different stages of their career.

Of the new songs, the head-tripping and quick-paced “Light Inside” was the best of the bunch, while hit “Jaded” was a decent ballad marked by lighters in the audience.

“Just Push Play” was blasted outside the venue before the show as part of a looping truck commercial, so the song was pretty anticlimactic when the band played it during the show.

Perry’s solo turn on the bland “Drop Dead Gorgeous” was a poor substitute for the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” that he used to play.

Regular set ended (after 100 minutes) in strong fashion with the concert jam “Mother Popcorn” followed by a smokin’ version of what it is arguably the band’s best song, “Walk This Way.” A tease of “Uncle Salty” then segued into another classic, “Sweet Emotion.” A three-song encore included a solid “Living on the Edge,” 1989 hit “What It Takes” and a cover of the Yardbirds’ “Train Kept a Rollin’.”

Aerosmith

Great Western Forum; 14,000 seats; $85 top

Production

Presented by Dodge, Clear Channel & House of Blues Concerts. Reviewed Jan. 13, 2002.

Cast

Band: Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more